- This section uses the translation by Richmond Lattimore (1951). Full text online as translated by Samuel Butler
- The will of Zeus was accomplished.
- Then looking at him darkly resourceful Odysseus spoke to him: "What is this word that broke through the fence of your teeth, Atreides?"
- IV. 350-351
- As is the generation of leaves, so is that of humanity. The wind scatters the leaves on the ground, but the live timber burgeons with leaves again in the season of spring returning. So one generation of men will grow while another dies.
- VI. 146-150
- So they spoke, and both springing down from behind their horses gripped each other's hands and exchanged the promise of friendship; but Zeus the son of Kronos stole away the wits of Glaukos who exchanged with Diomedes the son of Tydeus armour of gold for bronze, for nine oxen's worth the worth of a hundred.
- Victory passes back and forth between men.
- Paris contemplates the fickleness of victory as he prepares to go into battle.
- Man, supposing you and I, escaping this battle, would be able to live on forever, ageless, immortal, so neither would I myself go on fighting in the foremost, nor would I urge you into the fighting where men win glory. But now, seeing that the spirits of death stand close about us in their thousands, no man can turn aside or escape them, let us go on and win glory for ourselves, or yield it to others.
- XII.322-328 (Sarpedon to Glaukos)
- οὐ μὲν γάρ τί πού ἐστιν ὀϊζυρώτερον ἀνδρὸς
πάντων, ὅσσά τε γαῖαν ἔπι πνείει τε καὶ ἕρπει.
- Among all creatures that breathe on earth and crawl on it there is not anywhere a thing more dismal than man is.
- XVII.446-447 (Zeus)
- I have gone through what no other mortal on earth has gone through; I put my lips to the hands of the man who has killed my children.
- XXIV.505-506 (Priam to Achilleus)
- And you, old sir, we are told you prospered once.
- XXIV.543 (Achilleus to Priam)
The Odyssey (c. 7th century BC)
- The man for wisdom's various arts renown'd,
Long exercised in woes, O Muse! resound.
- Book I, lines 1-2 (translated by Alexander Pope).
- These things surely lie on the knees of the gods.
- Book I, line 267.
- The best thing in the world [is] a strong house held in serenity where man and wife agree.
- Book VI, lines 196-8
- Rather I'd choose laboriously to bear
A weight of woes, and breathe the vital air,
A slave to some poor hind that toils for bread,
Than reign the sceptred monarch of the dead.
- Book XI, lines 489-492 (translated by Alexander Pope).
Quotes about Homer
- But how did you come to have this skill about Homer only, and not about Hesiod or the other poets? Does not Homer speak of the same themes which all other poets handle? Is not war his great argument? and does he not speak of human society and of intercourse of men, good and bad, skilled and unskilled, and of the gods conversing with one another and with mankind, and about what happens in heaven and in the world below, and the generations of gods and heroes? Are not these the themes of which Homer sings?
- Indignor quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus.
I'm aggrieved when sometimes even excellent Homer nods.
- Horace, in Ars Poetica.
- In the Odyssey one may liken Homer to the setting sun, of which the grandeur remains without the intensity.
- Longinus, in On the Sublime.
- Homer, the sovereign poet.
- Dante Alighieri, in Divina Commedia.
- Seven cities warred for Homer, being dead,
Who, living, had no roof to shroud his head.
- Thomas Heywood, in The Hierarchy of the Blessed Angels, 1635.
- As learned commentators view
In Homer more than Homer knew.
- Jonathan Swift, in On Poetry, 1733.
- Our author’s work is a wild paradise, where, if we cannot see all the beauties so distinctly as in an ordered garden, it is only because the number of them is infinitely greater. It is like a copious nursery, which contains the seeds and first productions of every kind, out of which those who followed him have but selected some particular plants, each according to his fancy, to cultivate and beautify. If some things are too luxuriant it is owing to the richness of the soil; and if others are not arrived to perfection or maturity, it is only because they are overrun and oppressed by those of a stronger nature.
- Alexander Pope, in The Iliad, 1727.
- Oft in one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet never did I breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken.
- It is ordinarily only a single work, or a single suite of works, which stamps the individual artist as a classic poet, artist, and so on. The same individual may have produces a great many different things, none of which stands in any relation to the classic. Homer has, for example, written a Batrachomyomachia, but this poem has not made him classic or immortal. To say that this is due to the insignificance of the subject is foolish, since the classic depends on perfect balance. If everything that determines a production as classic were to be found solely in the creative artist, then everything produced by him would have to be a classic, in a since similar to, though higher than, that in which bees always produce uniform kind of cells. To explain this by saying that he was more successful on the one case than the other, would be to explain exactly nothing. For, partly, it would be only a pretentious tautology, which only too often in life enjoys the honor of being regarded as an answer; partly, considered as an answer, it lies in another relativity than the one concerning which our question was asked. For it tells us nothing about the relation between form and content, and at best could be taken into account in connection with an inquiry into the formative activity alone.
- Søren Kierkegaard Either/Or Part I, Swensen p. 48-49, 1843
- Mr. Gladstone read Homer for fun, which I thought served him right.
- Winston Churchill, in My Early Life, 1930.